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Monthly Archives: May 2012

 

By Marie Astor
Romance Lives Forever welcomes Marie Astor to the blog! Take
it away, Marie, and dance us to the stars…
Twenty-eight-year-old Claire Chatfield has everything a girl
could possibly wish for: looks, a promising career at New
York’s top architectural firm, and an engagement ring from one of New York’s most eligible
heir-bachelors! Life should be a dream, but when Alec Brunell, a sexy tango
dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly
awakens Claire’s old insecurities, making her question her life choices. Will
Claire brave her fears and allow herself to take a chance on Alec, or will she
continue to play it safe?
In order to secure his place as his father’s successor,
thirty-three-year-old David Lawson must settle down with a wife befitting the
future head of Lawson Enterprises – and who could fit the prerequisite better
than the stunningly beautiful and incredibly bright Claire Chatfield? There is
just one glitch – David Lawson is in love with another woman – a Hollywood
Legend Claudia Block.
A successful tango instructor, Alec Brunell has never lacked
for women’s attention, but he finds himself at a loss when faced with his
downstairs neighbor, Claire Chatfield. Upon hearing of his occupation, most
women swoon with desire, but Claire runs for the door. Still, her iciness only
adds fuel to his fire, and Alec is determined to change Claire’s view of him.
Claudia Block has been basking in the limelight of Hollywood for more years
than she cares to admit. While she still has her looks, she would much rather
not mention her age, which makes her unconventional affair with young and
handsome David Lawson that much more difficult for her to give up.
Dance Me to the Stars is a love story about finding one’s
perfect match – sometimes following one’s heart is as convoluted as learning
the steps of tango.
Dance Me to the Stars has been selected in the first round
of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel
contest this year.

About Marie Astor

Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love, and Lucky Charm. Marie Astor has also
authored a collection of short stories A
Chance Encounter and Other Stories
. Marie’s latest contemporary romance
novel, Dance Me to the Stars, has
been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in
the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year. Currently, Marie is working on
her next novel – a first installment in her romantic suspense series.
Author Website: http://marieastor.com/

Hillary, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Tell us, what is the most important thing you do for your career?

I keep writing and keep promoting! Even on those days that it seems like it isn’t possible to make it.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I love to have fun. My mother once told me that wasn’t what life was about, but I find that it is the only thing really. I love hanging out with my husband and our two year old. The joy she finds in things makes me so happy.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
I can do better—and I did. My next two novels are progressively better.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Do something you love. You spend WAY too much time working to not enjoy it.
What are some jobs you’ve done that would end up in a book?
Most of my jobs ended up in my first novel, Cappuccino is the Answer for Job Dissatisfaction. In fact, I started writing because I quit a crazy job after two days. People would have tears rolling down their cheeks when I told them about it. I figured I’d write in down and send it into Reader’s Digest—instead, I wrote a novel.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
I would read anything J.K. Rowling writes.
If Diane Satterfield ever writes another novel (her first was The Thirteenth Tale), I’ll be reading it.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
San Francisco.
What song would best describe your life?
You and me against the world.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Talking to friends!
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with mushrooms and olives.
I’m always ready for shopping.
When I’m alone, I read.
You’d never be able to tell, but I played the piano really well at one time (i.e. I played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for a recital).
If I had a halo it would be slightly tarnished.
If I could do anything, I’d go on Dancing with the Stars!
I can never relax because I’m constantly thinking about what else I need to do.

Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope (Kindle)

Wings of Hope (Paperback)

 
Blurb: The letter said he was dying, that’s all Jules Weinstein knows when she leaves her life in San Francisco and moves to New York City to be with her father. She goes for the remarkable opportunity to really know her father. She never dreamed he had liberated a concentration camp, dealt cards to Bugsy Siegel or saved the life of a Black Panther. Wings of Hope is a road trip through the memories of a man making peace with his life. Little does she know that by getting to know her father, she will find herself. While her father struggles with whether his life was meaningful, Jules discovers that her father’s last gift to her is the ability to reach for her dreams. Her journey teacher her that “the goodbye” is sometimes the most heartbreakingly beautiful part of life.
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Booklist
Wings of Hope
Cappuccino is the Answer for Job Dissatisfaction
Books Coming Soon
Justice Scorned, a legal thriller
Find Me Here

Touch of the Gods.

Have You Been Touched?

Love and war are usually opposing forces. So, what happens if they make a bet? Everyone has someone, right? But is everything really fair
in love and war? Heph isn’t the perfect guy, at least not where he lives and
being a divorced bachelor is the worst. Pressured by his brother and nephew to
find a mate, he moves to a new place, determined find ‘The One’.
He finds her living next door and when they meet? They
nearly go at it on the front lawn. Heph knows he has to do this the right way,
but he just can’t keep his hands off of the curvy, full-bodied Vanessa. Once
he touches her, it sets a catastrophe into motion, and he may lose the first
woman who could ever love him.
– – –
Tell us about the main character in your current book. What is he like?
Hephaestus, the god of inventors, blacksmiths, and
volcanoes. Sounds great right? To be immortal and all powerful. Well, for this
guy, he’s hated by all the other gods, divorced from  Aphrodite. He’s lame
and unloved making his self esteem not the greatest. But he’s loyal to his
family, and has a bit of hope that his day for happiness will come.
If your main
character was here today, what would he say is his strongest point?
The strongest point for Heph would be the fact that he’s an
excellent handy man. He can fix anything and everything.
Does he think he has
a weakness? (If so, what does he think it is? What does his lover think it is?
What does his enemy think it is?)
Being the everyday punching bag, his self esteem is the
weakness Hephaestus lives with. Because of the accident he suffered as a baby,
he has a limp. For a god, any imperfection makes one unworthy. So, he suffers
with image problems and is pretty anti-social.
What drives your hero
to do the things he does? What makes him want to be the “good guy?”
Hephaestus is a loving spirit. He works hard to please his
customers and those he loves. Never the type to do things half way, the way
Heph lives is by giving 100%.
What’s your main
character’s favorite guilty pleasure?
Listening to rap music and singing it as loud as possible.
If you didn’t know
how old you were how old would you be?
Physically Hephaestus would look to be in his twenties. But
in actuality he’s close to the age when man first came to be.
A biography has been
written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
How To Embarrass Your Older Brother.
If money were not an
object, where would you most like to live?
Hawaii.
Hephaestus is the god of volcanoes.
He’d see that they stayed inactive.
What song would best
describe your life?
The Way I Am by Eminem
If you were a tool,
what would people use you to do?
Hammer in things. Heph loves his hammer.
Picture yourself as a
store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would
be sold there?
Every tool and power tool known to man.
As a child, what was
your favorite thing about school?
Heph lived among humans after being cast from Olympus. His favorite class was in the blacksmith forges.
Tell us an
embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story
about a significant other will do. ^_^
Hephaestus once owned a pig. He later learned that the pig
was in fact his former neighbor who had been cursed by his older brother Ares.
Sadly that pig had been sold for more tools and the neighbor’s wife wasn’t too
thrilled with him.
If you came with a
warning label, what would it say?
Watch out for the Prince
Albert. It vibrates.
Please Fill in the
Blanks (as the character)
I love pizza with a bottle of tequila.
I’m always ready for the next shoe to drop.
When I’m alone, I long to be accepted.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’m a really big teddy
bear.
If I had a halo it would be melted
after working in the forge.
If I could fly I’d never have fallen from Olympus in the first place.
I can never like my brother Ares because he’s a
douche bag.
Other books by D. X.
Luc
Down the Yellow Brick Road:
Finding Homesickness
— New Concepts Publishing
A Zombie Hunter’s Holiday — New Concepts Publishing
About D. X. Luc
An avid reader since I was a child, I never found a book I
disliked. Mostly, you could find me lost in Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, or
Ernest Hemingway, and my most favorite, Ancient Greek literature. Taking my
love of books, I started writing poetry, short stories, and even helped with
screen writes for my drama club.
By the time I was in my teens, my older sister introduced me
to my first romance novel, The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley. The moment
I fell into the world of love, I was hooked, and my addiction grew
until I found myself delving deeper into the erotic. After being convinced that I had the skills to try my hand
at writing, I went to work on my first story Down the Yellow Brick Road:
Finding Home. And since being published, I’ve not looked back.
Now, as a busy mom who homeschools, drives to activities,
and manages to find time to just cuddle with my husband of ten years, I have to
say, I love being naughty when I get the chance. It’s freeing and I wouldn’t
want it any other way!
Books Coming Soon
Just had a new release Touch of the Gods: The Wager on
Amazon
Find Me Here
Posted in Paranormal| Tagged , |
Neptune the Briarhearted.

Today, Romance Lives Forever is featuring a long-time friend, muse, and critique partner. I’m going to let her take over the blog… stand back, world. =^_^=  You have been warned.

– – –
File: D.N. “Nicki” Lyons
Age: 27.1 years old
Offending Document: Neptune the
Briarhearted – Book I: The Beginning
Insanity Level: Bipolar Schizophrenic.
So I woke up this morning with a blistering sinus headache.
I mean, oh my God, fires of Hell, someone smashed me in the face with a spanner
sinus headache. What do you think I did about that?
Yeah, it wasn’t too unusual. So I just sat down, watched
People’s Court, and drank a disgusting concoction made of beets, spinach and
assorted fruit. Then I went to the gym and lifted almost one and a half times
my body weight. Pretty standard.
You see, I’m the kind of girl who lurches out of bed in the
morning, cusses out the cat when her blanket smells like pee, and drinks either
a metric fuckton of caffeine for breakfast or has nothing at all. I like my
mornings like I like my Tetris games: hard and fast.
Recently I published my first novel, Neptune
the Briarhearted – Book I: The Beginning. It’s a lovely little tale, filled
with humor, dark Lords, demons and magic, all mixed up in a pot with a
black-skinned, blonde-haired Wizard. Genetic limitations have no meaning to the
Planetaries.
This is in the same world (though far before that time) as “What
Flavor Are You?” a short story that is definitely not meant for the kiddies.
But this one—Neptune the Briarhearted, that
is—is YA. Harry Potter kinda stuff, or Lord of the Rings. Not adult in
content—and kids like Wizards and Elves a lot more than adults do, to hear my
local librarians talk. (The hand-drawn graphic novel type cover is a plus.)
So…if you want it, you can either order a preorder copy
directly from me (only 59 of the limited print are left, and they are signed
and numbered in the back, autographed in the front), or rush to your local
bookstore to have them carry it. If you ask Amazon really nicely, they might
put it on the Kindle. ^_^
And hey—Don’t be a stranger! Come on over to my neck of the
woods sometime.
Buy a first print: (PayPal is the only online payer I use
right now. But snail mail or Western Union is
also o.k.…just no cash. Personal checks are fine too.)
locke.saintaugustin (at) rocketmail.com
Get in touch: (Add me as a friend! I don’t bite. And if your
kiddies want a poster, ask here.)

Romance Lives Forever is in the hands of Cecilia Tan today, who will be talking about Passion in Prose and Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, her labor of love…

– – –

Would you think I was crazy if I told you I’ve been writing
a book for thirty years? (THIRTY YEARS!) I suppose it might matter how long the
book is, right? Because I’ve been writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles since I was
a teenager. It’s not exactly a “book,” partly because of how long it
is. It’s not a novel, but it is a story. That means it’s not a
“romance,” but it is a love story.

The main reason I can’t call it a romance is because most
people’s idea of a romance is so strict. For one thing, people expect the love
interest in a romance to be introduced in the first chapter. That doesn’t
happen in Daron’s Guitar Chronicles. DGC is a story about a young guitar player
trying to make it in the 1980s. He’s got conflict with his father, an uphill
battle to success, and on top of that, he’s in the closet. Finding the love he
needs to survive is an even steeper road than the road to fame.
Why don’t we meet Daron’s love interest in the beginning of
the book?
Because Daron isn’t ready to meet him yet. Daron isn’t just in the
closet. He’s deeply afraid of what might happen if people find out he’s gay.
He’s been fed homophobic crap his entire life and even though if you called him
on it he’d say he didn’t believe it, deep down, somehow, he does. He doesn’t
believe himself deserving of love and thinks he’s a pervert for the way his
hormones take over sometimes and make him act on his lust and frustration.
Many romances are the story of one person learning to love
another. But Daron is so weighed down by self-hate, by internalized homophobia,
that before he can learn to love someone else, he needs to learn to love
himself. Fortunately, he gathers people around him who love him without judging
him, though it takes time.
And that’s the real truth of the matter. It takes time to
get over something as complicated and deep-rooted as internalized homophobia.
Which is why this story couldn’t be told in one, short novel. It needed to
start early in Daron’s life and move gradually through all the twists and turns
of him coming of age and figuring stuff out. It’s a love story and that means
all kinds of love, family, friends, lust, and also romantic love.
The story’s length and gradual development are what kept me
from publishing it for so long. Gay publishers wanted me to cut it down and
concentrate on the coming out. Romance publishers wanted me to cut it down and
concentrate on one main relationship. Literary publishers wanted me to cut down
the pop culture references.
I found I couldn’t do any of those things without ruining
everything that makes the story work, everything that made my friends who read
the early drafts call it “addictive.”
This is why I’ve been publishing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles
on the web as a serial. You can read it for free starting here: (http://daron.ceciliatan.com/archives/1)
But there is one warning. It is addictive. Readers fall in love with Daron. But
eventually they catch up to the most recent chapter, and then they have to wait
for the next installment. Just like a TV show or a comic book, they have to
wait for the next episode. The story will eventually be finished, but for now
everyone is invited to fall in love with Daron the way I have and to come along
for the ride, which is still going through the ups and downs of his life.
And then for those who enjoy reading on paper, I’m running a
Kickstarter right now to raise the money to make an actual print version, and
for those who read on Kindle or other e-reader, there are already three volumes
of ebooks available. You can get them most places ebooks are sold and also by
supporting the Kickstarter as a reward gift, and for a slightly higher
contribution, get the printed book, too. For all the details about helping fund
a printed version, visit the Kickstarter page here: http://kck.st/IlE7Bi
Love is ultimately the most rewarding thing I’ve found to
write about. I write about sex, I write about passion, I write about trying to
make the world a better place. I write IN ORDER to make the world a better
place, whether that’s through helping readers to understand how terrible
homophobia can be, or through helping them to escape tough issues in their own
lives by escaping into my character’s world for a while. I do it because I love
it, and I hope my readers love it right back.
– – –

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles interview

Cecilia, tell us
about the main character in your current book. What is he like?
Daron is a headstrong young musician. He’s very closeted because
he was raised to think being gay is something bad, and yet he’s very confident
in his worth as a human being because of his musical talent. That makes for a
somewhat neurotic package, but he tries not to take himself too seriously. He’s
funny in a deadpan sort of way, and he tries never to let his wounds show. In
that way, he’s the opposite of a drama queen.
If your main
character was here today, what would he say is his strongest point?
His musical talent. Daron feels he’s got a gift and he just
doesn’t question it, even when he is insecure about everything else in life.
Does he think he has
a weakness?
His biggest weakness is definitely his hang-ups about sex
and sexuality. It leaves him vulnerable.
What drives your hero
to do the things he does? What makes him want to be the “good guy?”
Daron’s got a lot of bad role models in his life. His
father’s a two-bit con man, he is taken advantage of sexually by a roommate,
and in the music business it’s very hard to know who to trust. But he tries to
be better than all that. For a while he event thinks trying to be
“good” includes denying his own sexuality.
What’s your main
character’s favorite guilty pleasure?
Daron’s secret pleasure is dancing in his living room to
very loud funk and R&B.

 Personal Info: Daron

A biography has been written about you.
What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Oh jeez. I suppose “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
Nest” is already taken, right? Just kidding. If it was written by someone
who liked me they’d hopefully title it something more like “I Love Rock
and Roll.” If it was written by someone who didn’t like me, they’d try to
get cute, a tell-all book called “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or
something insinuating like that.
If money were not an
object, where would you most like to live?
I’ve pretty much settled on staying in Boston. I know I don’t want to live in Los Angeles. I’m from New Jersey originally and I always thought I’d move to New York City, but having lived in Boston for a while I’ve realized how nice it
is. I’m on the road a lot, so I’m not home as much as I might like. But when I
am, I really appreciate how laid back things are in Boston.
What song would best
describe your life?
I’ve written a lot of songs about my life. It’s too
difficult to pick one. At any given time it’s probably the song I wrote most
recently. I just wrote one called “Infernal Medicine” which is about
how relationships can be poisonous. You need that person to heal you, you know?
But sometimes they’re the wrong one. The title came from a trip to the doctor I
took. The sign said “Internal Medicine” but I mis-read it. A whole
song came out of that.
If you were a tool,
what would people use you to do?
Ha. Tune guitars. No question.
As a child, what was
your favorite thing about school?
I pretty much hated school. I was a loner. I got picked on.
The only reason I didn’t get bullied worse was because I faded into the
woodwork so much. The only good thing was probably music class, but even that
was a chore sometimes. When I got to junior high, though, and started playing
the guitar at lunch on the warm days when we were allowed to eat outside, that
was my favorite thing for sure. I wouldn’t even bother to eat. I’d just sit on
a picnic table and play and that was how I went from being a band nerd who got
picked on to being “cool.” As long as I had a guitar in my hands, I
was cool. That’s still true today,  I
guess.
If you came with a
warning label, what would it say?
Haha! “Do Not Eat.” I think sometimes I’m as toxic
to other people as they are to me. Or to one person in particular, anyway.

Please Fill in the Blanks (as Daron)

I love pizza with my bandmates at midnight after
rehearsal
.
I’m always ready for a gig.
When I’m alone, I write songs about being not alone.
You’d never be able to tell, but I really love bubblegum
pop. I’m supposed to hate it, I’m supposed to be a snob about it, but people
don’t appreciate how great a good pop tune is
.
If I had a halo it would be rusted.
If I could pick one person’s brain I’d pick David
Bowie’s
.
I can never be fully happy because I’m too f’d up.

About the Author

Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important
writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic
literature,” according to Susie Bright. In 1992 Tan founded Circlet Press,
a category-busting independent press that mixes science fiction/fantasy with
erotica, and which added an erotic romance line, Clasp Editions, in 2011. Tan
is the author of many books, including the romances Mind Games, The Hot Streak,
and the Magic University series. Her gay high fantasy
erotic romance THE PRINCE’S BOY is a current nominee for the Pauline Reage
Novel Award for BDSM-positive fiction.
Her short
stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s
Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame for LBT gwriters in 2010, was a recipient of the
Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2001, and
won the inaugural Rose & Bay Awards for crowdfunded fiction in 2010 for Daron’s
Guitar Chronicles
. She lives in the Boston
area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats.

Find Cecilia Here

Find Daron
Here

First Chance.
I am a huge advocate when it comes to over-promoting. I
constantly see authors overdo the promotions of their books. Granted I know the
excitement is there. You want the world to know. You also want the world to buy
one copy. Right?
Well, I unexpectedly was off-line for the last few weeks
due to personal events and a quick trip to Florida. And in that time I noticed
something. Sales for my two self published books dipped. They fell. They
tumbled some. Hell, I’ll be honest… they crashed faster than the stock market
did under the democratic politicians.
Sales for my prequel to When We Meet Again, First
Chance,
was HOT! It hit number 61 in the Amazon Top 100 Best Sellers back
in March when it was first released.
Then came Insatiable
Kate

an erotic tale that was once part of an anthology but when the rights
reverted back to me, it was off and running as a self-published book on Amazon.
Now what are their standings? *looks around* I don’t want
to discuss it. Not one single promotion anywhere online for over three weeks…
and there was a noticeable difference and I know my payment from Amazon will
reflect the slump. So what to do now?
Insatiable Kate
Light promotions. I will be offering Insatiable
Kate
free next weekend for Mother’s Day. My mindset is that moms
will receive gift certificate for Mother’s Day (Hint** buy some
ebooks for mom this year) and while she’s on Amazon shopping, she will see my
freebie. Win-win here. She gets a free bonus book to read and I may gain a new
reader for my fan base.
Now, I did mention LIGHT promotions. So do NOT expect
to see me over-flood the already saturated groups and loops with my freebie.
I’m hoping and praying for word of mouth exposure.
So now my main question is this… were sales through the
roof due to the fact that these were new releases? Or did the sales falter
because I didn’t promote at all?
The $64-million dollar question I hope to have an answer
for within a month. So stay tuned in for these ‘test’ results.
*the original post is part of my Promo Monday blog series.
But this is an experiment I wanted to share with a broader audience. as I’m
sure many authors have seen the same sales influx* 
Also on July 14 and July 15, the Marketing For RomanceWriters group are hosting various workshops on promoting and techniques. Please
be sure to join us.
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